Putting it into Practice

In this chapter you have learned that persuasive communicators set top-level strategy, structure their arguments, and sometimes even apply advanced persuasion techniques, all while keeping their appeals ethical and fallacy-free. You should be ready now to begin practicing and applying the persuasive competency.

You will have opportunities every day in business to influence how other people around you think, act, and make decisions. In this section, you will find strategies for writing two persuasive messages in business: request for funds and the “one-pager” proposal.

Message Strategy: Requesting Funds

There will be times when you will want to request money to support something you are doing, whether it is personal professional development or for organization- or team-based initiatives. Your receiver—the person who has the authority to approve or deny requests—likely has limited resources and has to use them carefully throughout the budget cycle. So a request for funds must be highly persuasive. To get your receiver to say yes, you have to make a compelling case that there will be a good return on investment.

Here are tips for writing a request for funds:

Ask for What You Need

Before your receiver can agree to your request for funds, he or she needs to know how much you are requesting. Even though it may feel awkward to do so, it is important that you ask explicitly for what you need. If there are multiple expenses within a single request, it is helpful to identify the price of each item. (Hint: Sometimes, you might not be able to get full funding, but you could get partial funding and the line-item budget will help.)

Provide a Solid Justification

Your receiver likely is going to be asking, “Is this a good use of our financial resources?” Any request for funds needs solid justification if your receiver is going to approve it. You can identify a problem that will be solved, benefits, risks of not approving the request, or some combination.

Identify What’s In It for Your Receiver

Usually when presenting a request for funds, you are doing so because there is a benefit to you. But your personal benefit likely won’t be very compelling to your receiver. So focus on the advantages that will accrue to your receiver or your organization. If you can show that your receiver will benefit, you will increase the likelihood of getting approved.

Be Gracious

Keep in mind that in most organizations, money is scarce and that decisions for funding have to be made very carefully. Thank your receiver for considering your request. Then, regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, thank them again.


TO: martin.okeefe@cardinal.com
SUBJECT: Request for Approval for PMP Certification


I am writing to request your approval and support for seeking certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

My job responsibilities have expanded recently to include more project management. As you know, I have managed several smaller projects over the past two years. But following Katie Jones’s resignation, I have been tasked with several larger projects, including managing the rollout of our website redesign and the customer service improvement initiative.

While I have developed basic project management skills on the job, PMP certification will equip me with advanced knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to lead complex projects effectively and efficiently. PMP training covers subjects such as risk management, resource optimization, and quality control.

With PMP certification, I will be better positioned to deliver successful execution of projects, improved project outcomes, and enhanced stakeholder satisfaction. I also am committed to being a resource for others in the organization. Additionally, PMP certification is widely recognized and respected in industry, which will add to my credibility as a trusted resource.

The PMP certification process involves several components, including formal training, test preparation, and the certification exam. In total, the training, testing, and related expenses total $2,734. Here is a breakdown of the expenses and support requested:

PMP Certification Training ($2,000). To be eligible to take the exam, I must complete 35 hours of training. City University offers an in-person course that provides comprehensive coverage of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Their website reports that more than 90% of the people who have taken this course are now PMP-certified.

PMP Test Prep App ($80). To increase my chances of passing the PMP exam on the first attempt, I would like to access the PMP Test Prep App. This app offers practice exams, study materials, and guidance on exam strategies.

PMP Exam Fee ($405 with PMI membership or $550 without PMI membership). The PMP exam is required for certification and the price is set by PMI.

PMI Membership ($149 per year). Membership in PMI will give me access to research, best practices, and new trends in project management so I can continue developing my skills.

Books and Materials ($100). I would like to request a small allowance for purchasing books and other recommended materials to prepare me for the exam.

Release Time. Additionally, as the training course is a 35-hour commitment, I am requesting your approval for time off to attend the training.

Typically PMP certification takes 8-12 weeks. So I anticipate completing my coursework and testing by the end of the fiscal year.

I realize that this is a big ask. But I hope you agree that this investment in my professional development will yield long-term benefits for our team and the organization. Of course, I would be happy to provide additional information or answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for considering my request.


Tori Shea
Marketing Manager | Cardinal Co.
1798 Market Street
Hometown, KY 40200
(502) 555-9147

Message Strategy: Proposing an Idea

Another kind of persuasive appeal common in business is proposing new ideas. Especially when a new idea is big or complex, there can be a lot to for a decision-maker to consider. So it is helpful to have a proposal in writing. But at the same time, it probably isn’t a good use of your receiver’s time to read a full-blown, lengthy feasibility report. It probably isn’t a good use of your time to write one until there is agreement that the basic idea is a good one.

Therefore, decision-makers will sometimes tell employees pitching good ideas to “give me a one-pager.” A one-pager is a clear and concise proposal contained on a single sheet of paper or single presentation slide. It is a document that is easy to read, understand, and share. It also can be a tool to get initial buy-in for proceeding with a more complete proposal.

Here are tips for writing a request for writing one-pagers:

Use a Template

Templates are preformatted documents specifically designed to accomplish a goal. Finding a good template will save you a lot of time designing and formatting the document. Chances are, it also will make your one-page look more professional. There are dozens of different templates for one-pagers online. Some companies even have their own preferred templates.[1]

Write an Assertion-Style Title

The title of your proposal one-pager should be written as an assertion. (See the Putting it into Practice section of the Evidence-Driven chapter if you need a reminder). The title should make the major persuasive argument of your proposal.

Provide a High-Level Summary

A one-page needs to be concise. So summarize your supporting claims and the most important evidence that support those claims. This can usually be done with a bulleted list or very short paragraphs of one or two sentences each.

Visualize Your Most Powerful Evidence

People’s eyes are drawn to images. So highlight your most powerful evidence visually. Ask yourself, “What is my most persuasive evidence?” and “What will be most likely to influence my receiver?” Usually, a well-designed chart or graph is most persuasive. But occasionally, a photograph or block quotation might be even better. Whatever visual evidence you choose, help your receiver interpret it correctly by writing detailed, persuasive captions that advance your argument.

Cut the Clutter

Your persuasive title and your persuasive visualization will likely be the most visible things on the page, and the ones the receiver will use to form their initial impression. So it is important that you do not obscure that message with clutter. You want your document to look attractive and professional. With only one page, that means there isn’t room for extraneous information. Make sure that everything you use, including graphics, contributes meaningfully to your message.


sample one-pager proposal


  1. If you want access to templates, you can find one-pager templates from Evergreen Data at https://stephanieevergreen.com/slidedocs-slide-handouts-and-one-pagers and from Duarte at https://www.duarte.com/resources/guides-tools/slidedocs-templates/. Both of these firms provide expert guidance on data visualization and have served clients in Silicon Valley.


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Business Communication: Five Core Competencies Copyright © 2023 by Kristen Lucas, Jacob D. Rawlins, and Jenna Haugen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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